"Freedom Forever" Vintage WWII Poster by Bettina Steinke, 1942

Presented is an original WWII poster by Bettina Steinke. The poster depicts, from left to right, an American Army soldier, a Navy man, a nurse, a Marine, and a pilot. The Navy man carries a waving American flag on a flag pole. The Marine carries a Marines red flag on a flag pole.  Behind them, six fighter planes fly in formation. Set against blue skies and a sunny grass field, all five figures are walking proudly, looking towards a brighter future, an apt representation of the poster’s tagline of "Freedom Forever." 

Bettina Steinke (1913-1999) was an American painter. Steinke attended the Fawcett Art School in Newark, New Jersey before enrolling at the Cooper Union. She also attended the Phoenix Art Institute in New York on scholarship during 1933 and 1934.  In 1937, Steinke worked as her father's assistant on a mural at Rockefeller Center honoring the tenth anniversary of NBC Radio.  This led to her first major commission, drawing charcoal portraits of Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, and the 105 members of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. 

During World War II, Steinke completed several works for the U.S. War Department during World War II, including portraits of President Franklin Roosevelt, Generals Douglas MacArthur and Henry "Hap" Arnold, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Mme. Chiang Kai-Shek.  She also participated in a USO-sponsored program in which she and fellow members of the Society of Illustrators drew portrait sketches of soldiers to be sent to their families back home.

In 1946, Steinke married Donald Blair, an oil company engineer and photographer who she met during the war. The couple moved to Oklahoma, then Taos, New Mexico and finally settled in Santa Fe. Out west she started painting Native Americans and produced some of her finest work as an artist of modern indigenous people. In the 60’s, Steinke sold a portrait of Will Rogers to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s permanent collection, which led to more commissions. In 1973, Steinke helped to found the National Academy of Western Art. 

In 1995, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame hosted a major retrospective of Steinke’s career and she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996, Steinke was awarded the John Singer Sargent Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Society of Portrait Artists.

Stamped "COPR. C. MOSS 1942, LITHO IN U.S.A." twice in blue at lower right, in the image. Signed in stone by "Bettina Steinke" in brown, lower right in image. "FREEDOM FOREVER" in black lower right margin, "7114" in black lower left margin.

The poster is archivally framed with acid-free mats, UV plexiglas, and a custom-built frame.

Framed Dimensions: 19 3/4" H x 16 1/4" W x 1" D

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